The Pursuit of Truth: An Ideal or a Path to Wisdom?

Lucas Charbonnier

Lucas Charbonnier

Mar 19, 20243 min read


The Pursuit of Truth: An Ideal or a Path to Wisdom?


The concept of truth has long been a subject of philosophical inquiry. Is truth an ideal that is unattainable, or should we search for it despite its elusiveness? On the one hand, skepticism suggests that truth is beyond our grasp, as our reason and senses fail to capture reality as it truly is. However, embracing doubt rather than claiming to possess the truth can lead to happiness. On the other hand, the search for truth is seen as a means of emancipation, freeing individuals from the illegitimate authority that dictates their thoughts and actions. This article will explore these perspectives and delve into the question of whether truth is subjective or objective.

Relativity of Truth:

To combat dogmatism, it is important to acknowledge the relativity of truth. Dogmatism refers to the defense of a belief without accepting criticism. The sophists argued that individuals do not have access to the essence of things independently of their perception. The perception of the wind, for example, depends on the person experiencing it. Therefore, the idea of an absolute truth must be abandoned, as truth is also influenced by culture. This tendency to consider one's own culture as the norm is known as ethnocentrism.

Limits of Relativism:

While relativism promotes tolerance, it runs the risk of dissolving the very concept of truth by allowing everyone to think as they please. If all opinions are considered equally valid, it leads to skepticism. Language itself disproves the notion of relative truth. The same word can be used to describe different objects, implying a shared essence among them. Plato's allegory of the cave in The Republic illustrates this idea. The cave represents the realm of appearance and opinion, while the search for truth requires us to venture outside.

The Search for Truth:

Truth is not easily grasped; it demands effort and a willingness to challenge our immediate beliefs. Scientists, philosophers, investigators, and judges all engage in the pursuit of truth, while remaining cautious of their own subjectivity. Protocols are developed to move from subjective opinions to objective knowledge. However, acknowledging the existence of absolute truth does not negate the relativity of scientific knowledge. The methods used to uncover absolute truth are shaped by history and subject to debate.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace doubt: Suspend judgment and recognize that claiming to possess the truth can lead to unhappiness. Cultivate a sense of open-mindedness and humility in the face of uncertainty.
  • 2. Foster tolerance: While acknowledging the relativity of truth, strive to be tolerant of differing perspectives. Engage in respectful dialogue and seek to understand others' viewpoints, even if they differ from your own.
  • 3. Pursue knowledge: Actively engage in the search for truth. Adopt a scientific mindset that values evidence, critical thinking, and a willingness to challenge existing beliefs. Embrace learning as a lifelong pursuit.


The pursuit of truth is both a challenging and rewarding endeavor. While skepticism highlights the difficulties in reaching absolute truth, it also emphasizes the importance of embracing doubt and finding happiness in the search itself. Relativism reminds us of the need for tolerance and recognition of diverse perspectives. However, the existence of shared essences and the pursuit of objective knowledge demonstrate that truth is not merely a subjective construct. By embracing doubt, fostering tolerance, and actively seeking knowledge, we can navigate the complexities of truth and find wisdom in the ongoing pursuit of it.


  1. "La vérité n'est-elle qu'un idéal ?", (Glasp)
  2. "Peut-on dire «à chacun sa vérité» ?", (Glasp)

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